Overview of VPN Clients for Android 4.x
Relevance of the topic
It's no secret that the latest trends in the regulation of the Internet scare lovers of freedom and anonymity (for example , YouTube’s blocking in Dagestan ). Even on the hub with enviable consistency, topics appear with information on how to configure a VPN server for personal needs . We add here that there are a large number of resources that are not available from certain territories, but which are of certain interest to users, for example, the Internet cinema Hulu.com , Internet radio Spotify and Pandora . And even the Internet cinema ivi.ru prevents users from outside Russia from gaining access to their content.
Do not forget about such a VPN function as data protection at the “last mile”. This is especially useful for those who travel frequently and connect to the network from various places. There can be no certainty that a WiFi access point is secure, and is not provided, for example, by an attacker in order to intercept data, since there is no special mind to call a Beeline-Free-Wifi point, and most users will not climb to check whether it is Beeline or not.
In general, if you still think that you do not need a VPN, then you can not read further.
VPN and Android, a difficult childhood
Despite the fact that Android is based on Linux, the VPN situation in the early versions of android is deplorable. Google is blamed for the amazing slowness of Google in terms of fixing some errors. There are two problems with VPN on older versions of Android:
1. Encryption in PPtP does not work. Absolutely. The connection is established, it works for some time, after which it dies safely, and no data goes. This bug is well known, and there is even a big topic in the Google tracker for broken PPtP . There are reports that in versions 2.3.7 this was fixed, but alas, I did not test it, since it was updated.
2. Feature of work of L2TP / IPsec. The fact is that the installation of the connection key is through key-storage. And when you put the key in the store, the application that added the key is taken into account. BUT, when connecting, the key request comes from the system user, and since the key was saved on behalf of the VPN client, any VPN start with L2TP / IPsec fails. There is no key.
But not everything is so sad. In the new version of Android, Google announced a new API - VpnService. It allows you to implement your own VPN protocols and exchange traffic with the system through special interfaces (essentially through TUN). And everything seems to be wonderful, but even here there was a fly in the ointment in a spoon of honey, namely - the TUN driver is missing on an entire army of devices:
- Amazon Kindle tablets;
- many devices from Sony;
- most Chinese tablets.
In general, if your device belongs to one of the listed device classes, most likely the VPN will not work for you.
A small lyrical digression: if your Android device is rooted, then you can install the TUN driver on both Android 2.x and 4.x, but in this review I intentionally miss such software, and if there is interest, I will consider it in the next review.
About software selection
The choice of software was made in an extremely simple way - search on Google Play with Asus Transformer for VPN. Participants in the review:
- Hotspot Shield VPN;
- Vpn One Click;
- Hideman VPN;
- PandaPow VPN;
But first things first.
Hotspot Shield VPN
Google Play: play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=hotspotshield.android.vpn
I won’t be mistaken if I call HSS the fathers of a free VPN. I think few people who did not use their service. But right to the point:
- no registration needed. At all. Launched and it works. Serious software approach.
- There is a widget for quick connection. Alas, its design is very embossed in appearance. But he is, and that’s good.
- absolute free. The only thing that in theory will be showing ads. But I haven’t seen her anywhere. Perhaps not yet implemented.
- good speed (I was given 4 megabits with the VPN turned on)
- creepy design. It does not fit into the style of Android at all.
- Despite the fact that the server is in the USA, sometimes other countries (for example UK for BBC iPlayer) may be required. But alas, there is no choice of countries.
- a terrible, ugly die that hangs in the tray and does not clean up in any way. Absolutely. It spoils the tray with one of its appearance. Apparently because of this HSS plate, the only program that has a Uninstall button directly on the main screen.
For a version without ads (which is already missing), they ask for $ 1.99 per month or $ 19.99 per year.
Add a selection of countries and remove this creepy die in the tray. And so the decision for every day for the majority of users.
Vpn one click
Google Play: play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.vpnoneclick.android
An extremely simple program that immediately displays a list of available countries for connection on the main screen. The only problem is that in free mode you can only connect to a random server, and you can’t strictly indicate which country you need. When launched, it immediately adds a subscription for a year.
- easy to use, free for a year (and after a year already, the device can be replaced);
- there are different countries that were missing in the HSS;
- there is no normal indication in the program that the connection was successful;
- In the free mode, you can not select a specific country.
Very affordable prices: $ 2.99 for 3 months and $ 8.99 per year. You can pay for Liberty Reserve (fans of anonymity rejoice) and Paypal.
In free mode like HSS, the only difference is that the country may not be the United States. A little not obvious interface, but in general a worthy alternative to HSS.
Google Play: play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.hideman
The program is made in the style of Android. The big green button is impossible to get into. No registration required. Give 5 hours a week. The rest, alas, for the money.
- nice, comfortable;
- there is a choice of countries;
- there is a widget to connect. Cuter than HSS.
- only 5 hours for free. For those who will constantly use VPN, using without a paid subscription is impossible.
From $ 2.9 per month to $ 24.9 per year, which is more expensive than HSS and One Click VPN.
A good option for periodic use. Unfortunately, you cannot use it without a purchase.
Google Play: play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.pandapow.vpn
In truth, this software should not be included in the review at all. I first chose a software suite, and when I installed PandaPow I realized that this program essentially just copies the connection password to the clipboard, and you need to configure access manually, in a word useless.
In general, my hopes for a large number of quality VPN software for non-rooted Android devices crumbled to pieces. Nevertheless, if you choose from the software presented in the review, then I left three programs on my device. Each performs its role:
- HSS - continuous surfing in insecure networks, access to USA-only resources;
- Vpn One Click and Hideman VPN for cases when you do not need US addresses, and you need to get the IP of some other country.
PS There is a desire to review VPN clients for other platforms, as the experience of using these clients is very wide. If the topic is interesting to the audience of the habr, then I am ready to do new reviews.